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Friday, October 28, 2016

Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes

One of the many saying I've learned in Al Anon is "nothing changes if nothing changes."


I think I sometimes liken my situation to the situation of my parents when pondering whether to stay with hubby or not.  Despite trying to learn everything I could about healthy relationships, I missed many red flags because my family of origin normalized things that shouldn't have been normalized.  I didn't know what I didn't know, if that makes sense.  I often think that I don't want my own baby girls to experience that.

There is a fallacy in this thinking, however.  In my parent's relationship, neither my mom nor dad changed anything.  They spent their lives living out the same unhealthy patterns.  They are still doing that.  And they still feel it is normal. 

In our situation, things have already changed dramatically.  Both parents have already changed! 

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 Before: "No" was not respected in our home. I violated that ALL the time.  If Hubby didn't want to talk, it didn't matter.  You are supposed to solve problems before bedtime, so it was the right thing to do and I was going to make him talk or not leave him alone until he did, so we could solve our problems, darnitt!  This included following him from room to room and all manners of disrespect.   


Now: "No is a complete sentence."  Hubby respects my no.  I respect his no.  And we both respect J's no.  Today, J started to explain her no to Papa.  Papa asked her if she wanted a shower, she said no.  He said ok and she started to explain that she didn't like showers and go on and and on and on (this girl is verbose!)  I told her she did not have to "defend or explain" and she just kind of stopped, took a deep breath and said, "oh."

Nothing changes if nothing changes.....................  things have changed!

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Before: If I got irritable, it was someone's fault. 

Now: If I get irritable, it's probably because I'm "Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired" and I need to take care of my self before assessing whether the irritation is legit. 

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Before: I defined my success by the success of my spouse and relationship. My kids were little, but perhaps I would define my success as the success of my kids too (not sure, but possibly).

Now: My husband's success does not reflect on me.  If he messes up, it does not make me look bad and I am not responsible for it.  The success of my marriage does not define my success in anything. 

**I'm still working on a gazillion things that I think define my self worth, but there is progress.




And I'm sure there is more.  There is more gentleness and acceptance and patience.  This is not my parent's marriage.  It doesn't mean that if Hubby doesn't get help, I should stay.  When he is good, he is great!  But.... when he slips/relapses, he is not emotionally safe.  I have been exposed to things I don't think anyone should be exposed to.  When he drinks, he does not respect no's or boundaries.  And while he may be learning through my recovery, it does not help him with his changes.  He has demonstrated a strong pattern of slips with some time in between them. 

Tonight, I'm finally going to try to get a little more specific with how I write this out for him.  He went to an AA and SA meeting on Wednesday and then nothing yesterday and nothing today.  I think I need to figure out my boundaries and make them concrete, then get ready to act.  Completely stinks!  Some people will change and some people won't and some people won't right now or in even 10 years.  Glad to be doing this, in a way, and then thinking I'm making a HUGE mistake in another.  I liked being a part of a nuclear family.  This doesn't mean my kids won't get that.  But it means they might not.  If I stay no matter what or have lesser guidelines for my comfort level, they will likely get it.... but, at what cost.  Last time Hubby had a lapse, he followed us out to the car when I felt uncomfortable and I drove around for hours before I felt safe to come home.  I don't think this should ever happen.  And if the kids were older, they would have understood and remembered.  While my childhood was dramatic, it was not the kind of drama that hubby is capable of.  And on that definitive note, going to clean up a bit and then work on this note to Hubby.

 

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